July '12

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Page 24 of 128

Selling Smart What's the real reason? | | | | I BY JEFFREY GITOMER The Blame Game overheard a sales dialog on an airplane: "He (the customer) has never responded to one of my emails and never calls me back. The only time he calls me is when he needs some- thing." Then back to devouring this week's edition of US Weekly magazine. Sound familiar? Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer Inc., he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings and conducts training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at (704) 333-1112 or via email, at Why do salespeople blame other people and/or other things for their own ineptitude? Why didn't this salesperson say, "I have to work on my voicemails and emails. They're not getting any traction and they're costing me ma- jor money. I'm going on an all-out effort to improve my writing skills, my voicemail skills and my creativity to generate better response!" I'll tell you why: It's easier to blame others for shortcomings than it is to take responsibility for them. It's easier to blame than admit you're not that good. It's easier to blame than it is to improve. It's easier to blame than face your own reality. And I'm certain this message applies to you. You blame the customer when something goes wrong, something didn't happen as planned, someone didn't respond, or you lost a sale to a competitor—especially at a lower price. Wrong. Very wrong. I have been helping salespeople sell more and sell better since 1976 and, during that time, no one has ever come to me and said, "Jeffrey, I didn't make the sale, and it was all my fault!" Interesting statistic. Rather than blame, I have some answers that will help you. Actually, I have some questions. Questions you MUST ask yourself BEFORE you blame. These questions will give you a brand new perspective, and they automatically shift blame to responsibility. They will bring you a new sense of reality. And they will make you a better salesperson. Ask yourself "why" to get to the truth: Why wasn't my call returned? Why did they cancel my appointment? Why did they delete my email? Why didn't they respond to my email? Why weren't they interested? Why did they say, "we're happy with our present supplier"? Why can't I set an appointment? Why can't I get through to the decision maker? Why are they meeting with other vendors or suppliers? Why did they take the lowest bid? Why did they buy from the competition? Why did they tell me that my price is too high? SHIFT OF FOCUS Why are you blaming others (especially customers) for your inability to attract, engage, connect, and create value that leads to a sale? One of the weakest and least exposed shortcomings of salespeople is how they use time. If you're allocating too much time to watching TV, or other nonsense activities, you're wasting valuable career-building opportunities. Whatever you're doing with your non-business, non-family time, ask yourself these reality ques- tions: Will this help me double my sales? Will this help me build better relation- ships? 20 | PRINTWEAR JULY 2012 Will this help me become better known? Will this make me be perceived as a person of value? Will this help me build my reputation? Will this help me build my sales and personal development skills? OWN UP Work on these elements of your sales and business life: Message leaving—Are your messages in any way impacting your standing and status with the custom- er? Is there an ounce of value or creativity, or are you just begging for some news about the proposal you sent (and calling that a follow-up)? Be available—Your prospect will call you when they are free. This may be before or after business hours. Be easy to do business with—Customers want ev- erything now. Leave value messages—Say something short and sweet that they can use. Study creativity—Your competitive advantage is to be perceived as different. Read a book on creativity as a starting point. Be more friendly than professional—Sales is a pro- fession, but salespeople (you) must be perceived as friendly. Build your business social media presence—Are you tweeting value messages? Interacting with cus- tomers one-on-one on your business Facebook page? Looking to make new connections on LinkedIn? Creating a YouTube channel with customer testimo- nial videos? Or are you watching the 6-o'clock news? Use meals to build relationships—You'll be amazed how much more available customers become once you get to know them personally. Take prospects and customers to breakfast or lunch at least three times a week. Simple self-evident fact: If you want customer re- sponse, you have to earn it. pw

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